BROOKINGS – A City of Brookings crew installs a multi-colored crosswalk at the intersection of Fifth Avenue and Fifth Street on Tuesday. Mark Sallmann of Ennis-Flint said the colored strips are pre-formed thermoplastic.
The crew put down a sealant, then carefully lined up two thermoplastic pieces (below) and melted them down (above). Then skid-resistant sand was applied before the pieces cooled. The crew started at 8 a.m. and finished around noon Tuesday. Traffic was driving on it as soon as the pieces cooled off.
“The rainbow crosswalk is a collaborative effort between the City of Brookings Public Arts Commission and Human Rights Commission. The crosswalk signifies the City’s commitment to diversity and inclusion as well as highlights our Municipal Equality Index (MEI) score of 100,” said Jake Meshke, assistant to the city manager in Brookings.
In October, Brookings celebrated being the first and only city in South Dakota to achieve a score of 100 in the 2018 MEI. The presentation was made by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation at McCrory Gardens.
“The idea for the crosswalk came up in a conversation between myself, Meagan Irvine-Miller, the co-chair of the Human Rights Commission, and Paul (Briseno, Brookings city manager) when we were talking about ways to recognize and continue showing support for the 100 MEI score Brookings received,” said Hanna Holmquist, co-chair of the Human Rights Commission. She and Irvine-Miller brought the idea to the Human Rights Commission and the city, to find out if it was possible to do the crosswalk.
Brookings PRIDE will host the first Brookings PRIDE Night from 6-10:30 p.m. Friday, June 14, at the Old Market Eatery. There will be interactive activities for all ages, drag queen performances, and a panel discussion with local, regional and national LGBTQ+ organization representatives and activists. Michael Billy, CEO of Hudson Pride Center in Jersey City, New Jersey, will also perform.
“We became aware of the Brookings PRIDE event during these discussions and once we determined that the crosswalk was a possibility, wanted to time the project to coincide with the June 14 event. The Human Rights Commission approved funding for the crosswalk at our May meeting,” Holmquist said.